This was January 2018

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Outside In: Journeys at Sotheby’s, New Bond Street (London, UK)…

I’ve just returned from New York and will use this space to recall some of what happened. Firstly, prior to embarking on that odyssey, I was excited to see the Outside In exhibition at Sotheby’s, a bit closer to home in London. The opening night was quite extravagant and as busy as could be. Perhaps someone knew there would be bottomless champagne glasses handed out? I’d like to think all these new faces were there to marvel at some of the wondrous works on show. The works were nicely lit, with a strange blueish hue hovering around them (or was that just me seeing it?). In some ways it was the perfect setting to celebrate Outside In’s certified charity status, and they did well in accumulating art works from throughout their journey, from 2006 to the present. In my case, Picture Worth a Thousand Words was on show. This was the painting I submitted for their competition/exhibition in 2009. I was one of the six ‘winners’ and they offered me my first solo exhibition as a result. At that point in time, the painting was a decade old already. Seeing it hung in Sotheby’s a few weeks ago, I realised it had doubled in age since then. It returns every ten years to fuel and strengthen my belief in the power and propelling of cycles. And to think, this painting blew off the roof of a car twice on the motorway from London to Chichester when we were initially delivering it in 2009. It suffered wounds. Thankfully that was all! Anyhow, it was certainly touching to see it again and whilst waiting for my coat in the cloakroom on my way out, I had a sudden urge to go and see it once more and to touch it. In that moment, a strange sense of time and movement ran through me, much more effective than my words could reflect. Something I have never felt before. I did return a few days later to show my family. There were a healthy amount of people around, but it was much easier to speak and move around. I must give a mention to some of the other great work on show, courtesy of artists Phil Baird, Kate Bradbury, Nick Blinko, Aradne, Albert, Manuel Bonifacio and James Lake among others. Normally I would have taken some photos of the works in situ but am whirl-winding through life at the moment, so I hope the links contained within the aforementioned names typed will suffice. I did get a snapshot of Jarvis Cocker making a speech at the opening though (if you haven’t seen his two part documentary on ‘Outsider environments’ for Channel 4 which screened in the late ’90s of the previous millennium, check the internets). Also, a shot of me with Nemo (a few weeks prior to his first birthday) a few days later in front of my work (also from the late ’90s). Big shout out to Marc Steene, founder and Director of Outside In and all round renaissance man for being unquestionably transcendental.

Jarvis Cocker speaks at Outside In: Journeys opening

 

Carlo and Nemo beside ‘Picture Worth a Thousand Words’

 

Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic at the American Folk Art Museum, Lincoln Square (NYC, USA)…

I’ve just returned from New York and will use this space to recall some of what happened. In terms of the exhibition, a very impressive and ambitious conceptual manifestation. It is an honour to be among the (mostly dead and few living) artists chosen to be featured. Five of my diary drawings are shown, spanning the years 2010 – 2016. Interestingly, that is the most of them that I have seen alongside each other at one time. Most probably I have never had that many in my possession at any one time, either. It was somewhat challenging negotiating time with little Nemo, considering the five hour time difference to back home but we took him along to the opening as planned. He fell asleep in a sea of noise and wonderment. It was a bizarre cocktail of adrenaline and tiredness. A surreal experience for sure. My works were hung in a space opposite a master work by Aloïse Corbaz and works by James Edward Deeds Jr. Some magnificent Adolf Wölfli works were displayed in the same area. It was a trip to be shown in an exhibition with so many works by  Achilles Rizzoli, which in this case heavily focussed on compositions comprised mainly of text rather than the phenomenal architectural imaginings he penned. I highly recommend this book. It was interesting to see some Paul Laffoley works again. His weighing out of systems is very intriguing to me. His work first caught my eye at the highly poignant The Alternative Guide to the Universe exhibition at the Hayward, in London in 2013. He was still alive then. Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic in some ways reminded me of that great show at the Hayward. So many interesting artists collected and put into a captivating context to provide a lens through which you observe the similarities, and sometimes somehow the similarities through the differences, based on how far in a direction they will each take you. 

My work was in view upon first glance beyond the entry point into the exhibition. Approaching it, it didn’t take a nanosecond to realise one of the drawings was hung upside down. This has since been rectified. I thought not to mention it here, but human error occurs (and we should be thankful for that!). This incident raised the question for me, ‘Am I so far down this road that only I can see how obvious it is that this drawing is upside down?’. Among attendees at the opening were, aside from myself, two other living artists being shown in the exhibition. Susan T King and Jerry Gretzinger. The former, I have admired and written a bit about in recent years. Jerry, on the other hand, I was not aware of. It was a great pleasure to meet him and speak at some length with him specifically/personally, but also as someone else included in the show, sharing stories about our paths and how we end up where we end up. I’m completely in awe of his map project which began in the 1960s and is on-going. Mesmerising. Find yourself ten minutes, get yourself a hot drink and watch this. An artist I was not expecting to meet that night was Joe Coleman, which was a more than pleasant surprise. It began with a “look who’s behind you, Carlo”, and there he was beside my work. Thanks to Jennie we got talking a bit, about Henry Darger (who has some incredible work in the show), The curator Valérie Rousseau, and other artists in the show. He left me with the words “Welcome to the family”. The family? The family?? Thanks Joe. Below are some photos from the opening. The exhibition runs for a duration of three months or so. Check it out if you can! 

 

Rizzoli works being scrutinised at the opening

 

Joe Coleman and Carlo Keshishian. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Joe observes Carlo’s diaries. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Joe Coleman, Carlo Keshishian, Jennifer Gilbert. Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic exhibition opening at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, NY on January 20, 2018. (Photo by Stephen Smith/Art Zealous)

 

In view: Aloïse Corbaz’s 14 meter long master work ‘Cloisonné de théâtre’.

 

Carlo Keshishian and Jerry Gretzinger. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Part of Jerry’s map visible in bottom left corner. Photographed during Valerie Rousseau speaking at opening.

 

I feel like there was more I wanted to write but it escapes me now. I need to stop writing here and continue writing in the current diary drawing, so will let this be for now. I hope to update the blog more frequently, yadda yadda.. let’s see..

Bright moments, Carlo.

Summer/Autumn updates

Outside In 10th Anniversary

Greetings. As usual, it has been a while since the last time I have posted here. Time passes, things accumulate, etc.. So, let’s get on with it!

Outside In have put a show together at Pallant House Gallery, in order to celebrate 10 years of Outside In, which is quite an achievement. It’s great that they can continue to carry out the work that they do and seem to be going from strength to strength. I have a couple of diary drawings in the exhibition alongside the works of other award winners. The show is on until the 30th October, so if you are nearby, do check it out! Also imperative to mention, something that really blew me away and was a total surprise, on exhibition in the DeLonghi Room at Pallant House, are some (many) collected works by Friedrich Nagler. Seriously incredible, faces created out of all sorts of materials throughout his adult life.. Some simple, others quite detailed and complex.. I can’t stress how great this exhibition is and urge anyone remotely near to go take a look, I’m not sure what the probability of seeing them again is, where or when, but I do hope it can tour for others to share this experience. These shows aren’t on for much longer, so check it out while you can!

Friedrich Nagler works on show at Pallant House Gallery

Friedrich Nagler works on show at Pallant House Gallery

Three Quarters Records

By now, I do have a somewhat dynamic history with a figure known to some as Joe Dub. He resides in Hawaii and first came to my attention in the last few years of the previous millennium for his work with the group San Francisco Street Music. He has gone through a few name changes and it is about to happen again, on this occasion to be coinciding with the launch of his new record label, Three Quarters. For their first release, Joe, alongside longtime collaborator Alex 75, handles the production for singer Doug Shorts on a 7″ called ‘Throwing Our Love Away/Slow Poison’.

I am proud to present to you all, a wooden 45/7″ record adapter that I’ve designed for the Three Quarters record label. It is my understanding that these will be available as a limited edition promotional gift with orders of the first release by Doug Shorts very soon.. Stay tuned for more info! In the meantime, you can read a bit more about Doug Shorts here.

Additionally, I have included part of an interview that I recently conducted with Joe Dub, in my 100th radio show for Itch FM (It is my 140th in total). The show focuses on the historical development of my interest in Jazz and I’ll be uploading it to my Mixcloud archive soon. It can be found on Itch FM’s archive already. Furthermore, I am in the process of putting together quite a thorough show focusing on Joe Dub and his music, which will include the full interview. I’ll provide a link to both of these as they become available.

 

The Carlo Keshishian/Three Quarters 45 Adapter

The Carlo Keshishian/Three Quarters 45 Adapter

 

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three-quarters-adapter

 

Outsider Art Fair Paris 2016

It’s that time again..  October 20-23rd. Outsider Art Fair Paris, at Hôtel du Duc. A few dozen galleries and organisations from around the world will be exhibiting. I will have works on display with the Galerie du Marché (Lausanne, Switzerland). I’m in great company alongside favourite artists of mine such as Raphael Lonne and Edmund Monsiel, whose pieces are very rarely exhibited, so treat yourself to a trip and journey. Come see us! I will be writing my opinion piece for Outside In as per usual, so if you can’t make it, perhaps you’ll be able to gauge and glean something from that once it’s published. I’ll keep you posted, in any case..

Right, that will be all for now! I’ll be in touch again in due course..

Bright moments,

Carlo

 

Outsider Art Fair Paris, Castlefield Gallery, Sweet Earth Records and a Happy New Year..

Outsider Art Fair Paris 2015…

Greetings friends, family, fans, followers and spies. I thought I’d write one of these posts to update everyone on some of my activities before the year is out. Firstly, as I mentioned in the previous post in September, I had two drawings shown at the Outsider Art Fair Paris thanks to Galerie du Marché and the Eternod/Mermod Collection from Lausanne, Switzerland. I must reiterate how much of an honour it is to have my drawings in their incredible collection and to be shown at their consistently strong booth, having attended the fair for several years and been absorbed by the potency and selection. This was the first time that my works have been exhibited at the fair, and I was in good company on the wall with a Louis Soutter  above me and a Theo below me, with a Madge Gill below that. As I said in my entry of reflections on the Outsider Art Fair Paris for Outside In‘s blog which can be read here: “In a weird way, I quite like being in the company of dead people who manage to speak from beyond the grave (and particularly in this way).” Quoting myself from other blogs, into my own. The future has arrived. Anyhow, for my perspective on the fair, click on the aforementioned link. The two diary drawings of mine that were shown were bought by the La Maison Rouge collection and a private collector. 

 

oaf paris carlo 2015

Carlo, beside himself at OAF Paris 2015

 

Diary Drawing…

I am currently drawing the 9th in my series of diary drawings, with the intention to stop at the 12th, as I’d like to continue a painting that I began in 2011 and hopefully build a series around it. Below, you can see an image capturing a moment in the process of my current diary in progress..

Ninth diary in progress

Ninth diary in progress

 

Castlefield Gallery… Inside Out

I am pleased to announce that some of my work will be shown in Inside Out, an exhibition with a very interesting roster of artists, at the Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, UK. The show will be on from 4th March until 24th of April. For (a lot of) additional info, check out the first link in this paragraph. I’ll go into some more detail about this exhibition in my next blog post, but for now I will say I am very excited to discover I’ll have works shown alongside Nick Blinko, Joel Lorand and Mehrdad Rashidi.

Sweet Earth Records

I undertook a most pleasurable adventure in recent months, in an attempt to shed light on a somewhat obscure, short-lived record company that was active between 1977-1979. My curiosity resulted from a variety of ‘coincidences’ in regards to the records that were released on the label, most of which are rare and all out of print with the exception of Sun Ra‘s The Other Side Of The Sun which saw a reissue through another label in recent years. In my attempt to demystify the story of Sweet Earth Records, I managed to speak with John Sprague who kindly elaborates on his memories of performing and recording with David Wertman and The Sun Ensemble, as well as his involvement with the label and their releases. I also speak with the legendary Amina Claudine Myers about her album Poems For Piano ‘The Piano Music of Marion Brown’, I chat with the charismatic Stephen McCraven who kindly invited me in his home to speak on his classic Wooley The Newt LP, and lastly I interview the great Ahmed Abdullah about a Sweet Earth Records non-release and what would have been Ed Blackwell‘s first album as leader. As far as I know, there isn’t really even a synopsis of what Sweet Earth Records were about, online, let alone an exploratory show containing interviews with someone associated with each release to come out on the label, which is what I’ve managed to piece together. I hope you enjoy it. With that, I’ll stop typing and leave you with those two hours of audio Sweet Earth Records special / See’s To Exist show. Happy New Year!

Bright moments,

Carlo

Artlicks Weekend with Hotel Elephant, Outsider Art Fair Paris, Diary drawing..

Artlicks Weekend/Hotel Elephant…

Welcome once again or for the first time. If you are sitting in silence, let me take this opportunity to momentarily redirect you to the archive of my weekly radio shows, in case you’d like a soundtrack to reading my blog. Go here and pick any of the hundred or so shows I’ve executed in my life as a radio DJ thus far. Don’t forget to come back though.

My first bit of news is that I’ll have some work showing in London (UK) again, finally. This will occur between the 1st-4th October. The opening is on the evening of Thursday the 1st of October from 6-9pm and then you will be able to come and see the following few days (Fri, Sat, Sun) from 12-6pm. Courtesy of Hotel Elephant as part of the Artlicks Weekend. The address is 23 Harper Road SE1 6AW. This location is just a few minutes walk from Borough station, or Elephant & Castle. For further info, you can use your search engine(s) or try these links: 1 and 2 and here’s another.. 3

 

Outsider Art Fair Paris 2015

I’m very pleased to announce that some of my work will be shown at this year’s Paris edition of the Outsider Art Fair, thanks to Galerie du Marché and the Eternod/Mermod Collection from Lausanne, Switzerland. It is an honour to have works in their highly impressive collection containing master works by Aloïse Corbaz, as well as works by some of my favourite artists (Edmund Monsiel, Carlo Zinelli, and Raphaël Lonné). Madge Gill, Scottie Wilson, and Adolf Wölfli are among the legendary names whose works can also be seen in the Eternod/Mermod Collection. The fair runs from October 22nd-25th. See website for further details. Here

 

Diary Drawing, March-September 2015

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve completed another diary drawing. This time surpassing any previous shift in increments by a surprising amount, in regards to the amount of words contained in the drawing, which on this occasion clocks in at 11,273 words. The last couple of drawings were around 7,000 words each, and the one before that had the highest word count previously, at 9,539. Here is an image of the latest drawing.. (click on it for a larger view).

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Thanks for reading (and listening?)                                                                                                                    Bright moments,                                                                                                                                                      Carlo

 

Marching Into Spring

 

 

It’s March…

Winter is behind us, or is at least subsiding temporarily. One thing is apparent, each day stays brighter by 40 seconds or so. Certainly beneficial to my creation process nowadays! Light at the end of the tunnel.

I recently completed the most recent diary page which began on the first of January, 2015. Here is an image of it.. Click on it to see a larger version (which you can then click on again)..

diary_jan-march-2015

 

In other news, there is currently an exhibition on in London (UK), Circus In Terminal 15, featuring a large painting of mine from 2009. It is also text based but more of a word association than diary-like. It’s on until Saturday 14th of March. On Friday the 13th there is a sort of ‘closing party’ which will feature performances (musical, theatrical, poetical, existential, un-categorisable) from 6.30-9pm. It’s at the RR Gallery, St.Peter’s Church, Kensington Park Road, London W11 2PN. Come along if you are in the vicinity. Here is an image of my piece at the opening..

 

And here‘s a lengthy bit of blog I recently wrote for Outside In, focussed on my experience with the Circus Terminal project. It contains some historical, ideological, philosophical, and other otical contexts. And some images. Check it out HERE

Lastly, I’m gonna plug a couple of my recent radio show uploads. As I’ve mentioned before, I do a weekly radio show called See’s To Exist show every Friday 4-6pm GMT on Itch FM which streams live on the internets via their website. I archive the shows here.

But what I wanted to draw particular attention to are two shows. The first being –

1) a special edition I did live at the station in dedication to the music of Joe Bonner, a favourite pianist of mine who sadly passed away a couple of weeks prior. There is a magical quality to his playing as is exemplified in the selections I have included from my record collection. I also speak a bit with Juini Booth who played bass on Bonner’s classic Angel Eyes LP. You can hear this show / here/ 

2) A more thoroughly put together show, and a first instalment in a series of three shows, is my focus on the overlooked pianist, composer, and conductor Horace Tapscott and the movement that he put in motion from the 1960s onwards. I interview several affiliates for this. The author Steven Isoardi, who edited Horace Tapscott’s autobiography and wrote an extensive account of the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra and their history. Michael Session, who joined Horace and the Arkestra initially in the late 1970s and who is currently leading the group since Tapscott’s passing. Darryl Moore, also known as JMD, who was drumming and touring with Tapscott in the 1990s, and is known for his work with the Project Blowed and production work with Hip Hop groups Freestyle Fellowship and The Pharcyde among others. You can hear the first instalment – /here/

That’s all for now, folks.

Be well..

Carlo

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What’s new and still old

In this entry of my seemingly biannual blog I have little to say that isn’t said elsewhere but I have a couple of links to throw at you containing masses of information, should you be interested. Firstly, I’ll draw attention to the latest diary page completed a couple of months ago. Click on it to see it in more detail. It may take a moment to load. And click on it again to see it in more detail:

11/3/14 - 26/8/14

I’m currently working on the next diary drawing, which unlike previous diary drawings which have more of a stream of consciousness based approach in terms of structure, even though there are in depth and thorough explorations into ideas, topics and experiences, the new diary is a continuation of the one illustrated here, focussing on just one topic, an in depth analysis which I feel will most likely even carry through onto a third page.

In other news, I’ve recently gotten back from a trip to France. Mainly Paris. I was there for the Outsider Art Fair. Quite an indulgent affair. There was a lot going on in terms of exhibitions and I saw more art than I would usually see in at least half a year. I documented some of my experience of being there for the Outside In blog which you can read here: click here

Ah yes, also, a well rendered image of mine is used in the David Maclagan article Beyond the Doodle, printed in Raw Vision magazine issue #82. You can read an extract from the article here and/or buy the magazine which features the full article with the glorious accompanying images and rest of magazine full of fascinating art to ponder on, HERE.

Finally, something that I received a few days back, which terrified me (fittingly, for Halloween), was an eleven minute video interview that I did for Uncooked Culture TV. I’d almost forgotten about it and then it just appeared out of nowhere. I still don’t understand how it spans eleven minutes but it does. Should you be interested in viewing this, you can find it below and it may be an idea to view it full screen if you want to see more clearly. That’s all for now.

Until next time..

Carlo.

2014 so far…

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Where to Begin…

How does one start a blog entry when 6 or so months have passed since the last. It seems to be a recurring thing, this accumulate and combust pattern. All I can do is create breathing space by leaving gaps and making more paragraphs. A few photos here and there.. Firstly, here is the last completed diary drawing.. which I began in April of 2011 and completed in November of 2013.

Diary-April-2011-Nov-2013

The new one is coming a lot faster. I am nearly halfway through it, and began it in February.

 

Circus Terminal New Zealand/Slovenia

The adventures continue with the Circus Terminal touring exhibition, accumulating more artists and artwork along the way. My work was shown in New Zealand, reaching further across the globe than me! In some ways, a parallel to a news piece I read recently regarding humans reaching a depth in the ocean that we’d never reached before, and finding some of our rubbish there. Our litter reached these unexplored areas before we did.

I can speak (a lot) more about Circus Terminal’s excursion to Slovenia as I actually went along for the ride on this one.. but in regards to chronology, I shall speak about my trip to New York first..

 

New York / Inside the Outsider Art World

I have an interesting relationship with this city. It brings back my awareness of everything resonating on a paradoxical level. I came into Newark airport, which I felt would be quieter and easier than JFK, as last time at JFK I had to queue for an hour and twenty minutes to get through passport control, which was a lot worse for the weak-kneed elders, families with little babies and children, or the obese.. I remember waiting for my luggage and hearing an announcement over the p.a., to paraphrase: “Please keep your mobile phones off in the luggage pick up area”.. and as my phone was on, I took it out of my pocket to turn it off, and within seconds a security/police person was beside me ‘excuse me sir, you’re gonna have to turn that off’.. I began to explain that this is why I had taken it out of my pocket, but he cut me off mid sentence and seemed aggravated by my being conversational/talking back to him.. Newark welcomed me in a similar fashion. The queue only took half an hour or so. I noticed a poster up which was focussed on explaining how the security there should treat you with respect and are there to help you etc.. etc.. Before arriving at the passport desk, a security guy was randomly checking people’s passports in the queue. He looked through mine and laughed whilst saying ‘why have you been to Libya so many times??’, (why have I been to New York so many times!?), I responded ‘I’ve never been to Libya’. He changed his expression and seemed stumped for a moment. He pointed at the stamps and asked what they were. I said ‘Lebanon’. He said ‘Same thing’.. I refrained from commenting further. Not long after, when I was on the New Jersey Transit train to Penn station in Manhattan, the ticket officer checked my ticket and I asked her roughly how long the ride to Penn is, and she of course answered with ‘do you have a smartphone?’, why she couldn’t just say ’10 mins’ or something like that, I don’t know.. This is New York, sometimes. I told her I don’t have internet as I am coming from London and to use internet here would be extortionate. Very much like the character of Gail in the film After Hours (one of my all time favourites, set in Manhattan), she completely ignored my comment and proceeded to show me this app on her phone which tells you the timetables of the trains etc.. She then turned around and showed the app to a couple of the other (American) passengers, telling them it’s quite useful. I reiterated my point “Can you just tell me, 5 minutes? 10 minutes?”, and in her overly helpful fashion she responds “I told you, 2 stops!”.. Thanks. As it was a national train, it is difficult to determine the length/space between stops, but I left it at that.

On thing I do like about New York is that you see stuff like this on the train platforms..

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The next phase was meeting someone to pick up keys for an apartment. Interesting lady. I had no luggage with me, which she was glad about, being paranoid about people in the building noticing visitors coming and going with luggage. This is understandable. I explained to her though that I’d be picking up a suitcase from somewhere the following day. She asked how big it was. We talked about all sorts of things and then I noticed she had these circular cards on the table and was shuffling them around as we spoke. She then mentioned that perhaps I should bring the suitcase in the morning instead of the afternoon. By now I’d pieced together the puzzle and she was using tarot cards to help her figure out when I should sneak this suitcase into the building. Another ‘After Hours’ moment. I had a busy schedule and couldn’t comply to her fully, but compromised the timing in regards to when I will bring this suitcase. I assured her it was very light and would take just a minute to walk through.. There are more eccentric aspects to this story but I shall refrain from going into those details..

Ah yes, the Outsider Art Fair.. I enjoyed it. Saw some great works by Edmund Monsiel, Raphael Lonne, A.G. Rizzoli, Nick Blinko, Christine Sefolosha, Stephanie Lucas, and many others.. I was intrigued by the talks on Jean-Michel Basquiat and Henry Darger, and spent my Saturday attending both. I go into some detail about these in a blog entry I have written for Outside In which has just been uploaded here. The stand out moment for me that afternoon was when James Brett took control of the panel discussion on Henry Darger and made it his own, becoming more and more animated as he built up to revealing his epiphany regarding Darger’s images and how they each follow on to the next, aesthetically, if you put them next to each other. He used nine or so slides to illustrate this point and flicked back and forth between them, the more he pushed the point, the louder the rain got. The talk took place on the roof of Center 548, with a temporary tent erected around us, you could see the material fluctuate from the violent rain and winds, and as Brett landed on a Darger image depicting a sky full of lightning, thunder struck and lightning flashed in completely simultaneous synchronicity on the roof of Center 548. The rain got so loud that we couldn’t hear the speakers’ voices and they had to stop for some time to see if it would calm down, and as it was passively said on the panel, echoing what some of the people in the room must have also been thinking half seriously, is that it was like Darger was interrupting the talk from above, showing his reaction, resonating with the theatrics of discovery.

Here’s another New York shot:

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 I was out and about a lot in New York.. entering the outside world at around 10am and returning just after midnight each day for four days straight. My energy didn’t seem to run low at any point until I returned home after an overnight flight which I did not sleep during. The following morning I set off for Slovenia, adding a further hour to the jet lag and putting me in a completely different environment. Anyhow, prior to that, in New York I managed to check out a few record shops. I had planned to visit just two but I eventually got through a dozen or so. I have some fuel for my radio show, which hopefully should be starting up again at a different radio station in the next few weeks.. I saw a few films, ate some great food, saw a few exhibitions. Of note is the Raymond Pettibon exhibition at Venus over Manhattan. Was great to see that. It’s a shame I only found out about the exhibition of Basquiat drawings on the Saturday during the Outsider Art Fair talk. I wanted to go the following day but the gallery was closed Sundays according to the internet and I flew home that night. I did however walk past a gallery with no signage, where some activity had caught my eye. A man holding open the door, another carrying packages from a van. The man holding the door asked “Well, are you coming in??”, I responded “I don’t know.. what’s going on in there?…. What’s the show?”, he said “Keith Haring”, and so I went in. I wouldn’t have even known about it! Was good to catch that. On the same street there was an exhibition of Julian Schnabel paintings from the late ’80s I believe. So it’s funny to see that era all on show at once. The Schnabel stuff is just interesting to see purely in terms of scale. The content I don’t really connect with.

I was told it wasn’t a very good record, but I do love a good octopus find.. Here’s a photo from the ‘rare records room’ at the Downtown Music Gallery..

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and here is a photo of me in front of a wall painted by Raymond Pettibon..

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Circus Terminal  Slovenia

The journey to Piran seemed dubiously painless, until halfway through the flight when we were informed that the plane had been struck by lightning.

I saw the flash of light but heard no thunder. There was some roller-coaster turbulence. Five minutes or so later, the pilot said something (to paraphrase): “As you may have noticed, our plane has been hit by lightning. Normally, we would continue on to the closest airport, in this case our destination, and have engineers look at the plane upon arrival. Unfortunately there are no engineers at Ljubjana and so we have to turn around and return to Stansted.” We got there and remained in our seats as engineers explored the damage for 30 minutes or so. According to the pilot, the lightning had penetrated the plane through one sheet of metal and come through the other side of another piece of metal. This occurred very close to a circuit board which is related to measuring internal or external pressure, but thankfully the circuitry was unaffected. We were then told that they would spend the next 15 minutes or so scraping off some of the burn marks and then we would be back on our way. Nok’s flight was arriving in the morning but she had decided to wait for me until I land at 4pm. Of course now that I was landing a few hours later, she rightfully left the airport to embark on the road trip to Piran. I would be picked up by a young lady who takes a small fee for running a sort of organised hitch hiking service which people can use on the internet to get a lift from town to town. After having just been hit by lightning and surviving, the conversation between my designated driver and I over the next hour  somehow didn’t phase me, but I did feel quite overloaded after. We touched upon planned parenting, censorship, castration, good vs evil, free will, population control, the eradication of money, horse burgers and various other wonderful topics. It’s a bit of a blur to me now. We did pick up two more passengers along the way but they remained mostly quiet. One of them seemed quite interesting though.. He teaches kindergarden and makes this trip once every couple of months on his own with some psilocybin and just walks around these three towns for several days. He said it gives him time to think and reflect and clear his mind. I don’t remember him carrying anything else with him. He seemed pretty together. I wished him a good trip as he exited the vehicle and quite soon after reached my own destination.

I was welcomed by this lovely mosaic piece at the Trumpet and Cloud hostel, where I was staying for 10 Euros a night!..

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 I know it was just a week ago but somehow it feels like a lot has time has passed since then already and the details get rearranged in my brain. I think it was the following day or possibly the day after that, that we took the art works down to the gallery. Circus Terminal is certainly a miracle of an embarkment, and only one Nok has the energy, drive and vision to pull off such an impossible task. I remember two or three years ago when the exhibition had maybe 15 or 20 artists on board, and since then after having toured through France, Spain, Thailand, USA, UK, Holland, and Australia, picking up new artists as the momentum continues, we now have a suitcase full of 350 or so art works by around a hundred artists. Here’s some photos of walking down the hill and taking the work to the Kud Esko exhibition space!

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And then we laid all the art works out on the floor, and in some sort of mysterious fashion they began to get placed on the wall with a sort of improvised, yet practiced, (dis)order..

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Contemplation back at the hostel..

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and a full moon..

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By the next day we were joined by Farad and Verena who drove over from Austria. We took Farad’s work down to the gallery..

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We visited a sculpture park..

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We drove past some salt-extracting environments, and this guy went in to go fishing with his harpoon..

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We were told that there was a fish market or something going on in Piran and so we went down to go and buy some fish to bring back to the hostel and barbecue in the garden. When we got closer, we found out that they were actually giving away free fish. This sounded quite unusual.. We got there and they were cooking fish and giving people a fish each to eat, so we queued and got some free local wine and fish for lunch, which was incredible. I asked how often this happens and they said it will probably happen again towards the end of summer..

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Back at the gallery, and hundreds of reference sheets with no order to match art works and images with titles etc..

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Unorthodox methods..

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and the opening..

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Some of the local and young artists were painting a wall outside.. And Farad and I had an impromptu noise jam inside.. Farad was shredding on the guitar and I was providing some drum programming and effects.. Check out some of Farad’s music here.

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Gotta thank our hosts, Vasko and Nina, good job!

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Between the opening on Friday and the collaborative painting session I lead on Sunday, all sorts of whirlwind happened. I won’t go into the shenanigans but it was a guy called Igor’s birthday and he was throwing a party from Friday night which went on until Monday? I passed through on Friday night and though it was pouring with rain, the party was lively, there was plenty food on the grill and an infinite supply of beer and other beverages. Skipping right ahead to Sunday, I was hugely impressed by how quickly this massive canvas was getting filled with the marks of local artists, and it was great that they could make it and were either struggling through a hangover or opted to come and paint over staying at the party..

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It was funny to hear these people trying to read my drawing. They were doing a good job actually. It was weird hearing them read out what I’d written, aloud, slowly but surely..

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And more photos of the Circus Terminal here.

 

Horniman workshop

Fellow artist and collaborator, Phil Baird and I have been doing a few things here and there. We ran six weeks of workshops at the Three Cs Crossways center in Peckham, and have also held a series of workshops at the Horniman Museum in conjunction with Network Arts Lewisham and Drake Music. I recently got an email from the Horniman with some photos of the workshop we held there most recently at the Community Music Day, which are quite pleasant. It was quite a short workshop but we showed one of the films we had made, and then everyone played on some instruments that were provided by the museum. Phil and I jammed on a couple of instruments as the others drew their reactions to the sound, and we did a version of this which involved passing the drawings around until everyone has drawn on every page. Here are some photos, courtesy of photographer Kitty Gale..

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

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(c) Horniman Museum and Gardens

I don’t know who will have read this entire blog entry but I hope to write the next one sooner rather than later to avoid accumulating too much ‘stuff’ and it resulting in these mammoth proportions of text. In any case, I think I’ve reached my threshold for now! If all goes well, I should have some good stuff to report soon.. so, will be in touch!

Take care for now..

Carlo.

Solo Exhibition ‘Portals’ in Beirut / Nov.5th-Dec.7th

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Portals at The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space

So, my 2nd ever solo exhibition has opened at The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space, in Beirut, Lebanon. It’s on from November 4th until December 7th. My first solo show Leaving Somewhere New took place at the Otter Gallery in Chichester, UK, the summer of 2010. The show was a retrospective of the last 10 years of work that I’d made. The current solo show however, is all new works made in the last year and a half. I’d had the idea for this show 5-6 years ago, at a time when I didn’t know anyone in the field, so the realisation of putting on a solo show that would on top of it require a substantial space, seemed a million miles away. Being stubborn, patient and determined, I seem to have found my way though!

Check out these three very quickly taken photos courtesy of Alfred Tarazi and his camera phone. It was a rather impromptu run around the gallery towards the end of the night at the opening, and he took a snapshot of me in front of each of the 6 large paintings. They came out rather nicely I think!

Carlo at opening

Carlo at opening too

Carlo at opening again

And here’s a few more photos from setting up the show and the opening…

So, the show is comprised of spiral-based works. Ink, Acrylic, Oil, and spray on canvas and on card. I also made two 20 minute quadraphonic soundscapes to enhance the atmosphere. I jotted some things down to print out in relation to what the work means to me, which was available to take at the gallery. It still is I guess! I am back home in London now, that is why I might slip into past-tense referencing. The show is still on for a few weeks! Anyhow, I will leave you now with the text in case you might be interested to read about the works and my analysis:

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Reflections on a Compulsion of Spiralling Through Life

Accompanying passages to the exhibition ‘Portals’

by Carlo Keshishian

When I work, there are three ways in which concepts manifest themselves that I am aware of. Firstly, I might know what I am going to do and why. This often involves working from one area until I reach another and I will stubbornly see it through, regardless of how long it takes. On occasion, the process invites slight changes in direction. While it might seem like a clinical approach, there is a very organic and natural flow to it. Secondly, I am often made aware of what a work is about at some point during the process of creating the work, beyond having initially begun working on the piece instinctually. I sometimes then introduce a wider context. Lastly, and most interestingly, I don’t realize what a work was about or why I have made it until after it has been finished. This can be days or even years after. Concepts can also come alive simultaneously in the aforementioned manifestations.

The spiral and pool pieces contain a rich and dynamic variety of meanings which I am continually discovering. Like many artists and non-artists alike, I have been drawing spirals for longer than I can remember. A symbol to signify eternity, the void, and the whirlwind of life.

The spirals function as portals; for me during my experiencing the conception of the spiral, and for the onlookers, should they allow themselves to enter. Parallels are drawn (in more ways than one) with and from the result of having accessed parts of the brain which are ordinarily off limits, through the use of hallucinogenic properties. The spiral is a birth canal through which a metaphysical transcendence is manifested.

A peculiar thing occurred to me recently, and it was pointed out to me by someone I know, who noticed this thing. After people talk, I sometimes repeat the last sentence that they say, or sometimes the last word. I’m not sure how long I’ve been doing this but upon pondering on why, I’ve concluded it perhaps has to do with what happens to a word when it is repeated, especially considering the context it is in. I am aware that I like to think for quite some time before giving a response, and repeating someone’s last word or sentence is a practical way to buy me some time to think without leaving a pause of silence, but I also like to strengthen the meaning of the word by mirroring it back, and to at times question if the word or sentence was well chosen or not by lingering on its ‘importance’ by repeating it.. This takes me back to the idea of metamorphosis also, to take one meaning and to change the perspective, to morph away from its initial imprint. In a comical subconscious case of life imitating art, I feel that it’s something I’ve been exploring in my spiral paintings and drawings for a long time in a different form. It also reminds me of the idea of recording a sound, and re-recording it, and re-recording it, and continuing this process until the definition is completely lost. I think John Cage presented a piece of music based on this principle in the 1950s/60s..

These spirals and pools also reflect my belief that everything is a reaction to something else, and therefore happens for a reason. If one was able to see and comprehend everything that happens simultaneously all the time, this person would be able to predict the future based on learned knowledge regarding what will react to what, in what way and how outside factors will be involved. In the spirals/pools, every little ripple or abrupt change of direction affects its further growth, naturally, displaying everything that happens and why.

Being a fan of Paul Auster’s novels and having spent this year in particular reading through several of them in succession, a few interesting ‘coincidences’ have presented themselves, in relation to my Spiral series, very much in the way that Auster himself includes a lot of mysterious coincidences throughout his novels. The big unrelated coincidence manifested itself in the form of my Spiral series coming to fruition simultaneous to the Mayan prophecy of the Spiral 5th World, which comes into being in 2012/2013. I have been drawing and painting spirals since as far back as I can remember and have been thinking of accumulating all my energy and bringing my spirals into the context of a whole body for several years. The opportunity to do this in a suitable space and time frame occurred without my prior knowledge of the Mayan Spiral 5th World emergence, and its coinciding was quite a remarkable token of alignment. I came to a point where I found myself reading Paul Auster’s ‘Mr.Vertigo’ which also triggers a recommendation made to me earlier this year, to see Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ simply for the stunning spiral which occurs in the credits. At the time of writing this, I am reading ‘Undercurrents’ by spiritual Jazz vibraphonist, Paris Smith, which contains a spiralling whirlpool on the cover. The spiral is a constant throughout my days, months, years and decades. As a dedication to Paul Auster and the interwoven coincidental mysteries that occur in his novels, and how that parallels my experiences in relation to the spiral, I have made titles out of words and phrases that I’ve extracted from various books of Auster’s, and several of the pieces in this show were titled through this process.

In regards to my creation process, it might be interesting to consider my having been surrounded by carpets and tapestries growing up, and how their creation process has indirectly affected my own, in terms of beginning my pieces at one point and working from there until an end point, not jumping from place to place, but knowing where the starting and ending points are going to be and having no way of ‘cheating’ or potentially putting into play any type of shortcuts. I use the same process to do elaborate text drawings, containing continuous diary entries where an accumulation of thoughts are recorded over a period of time, but I feel it’s the same thing in a way. The line in a spiral contains all that information as well.

In creating a spiral, a lot passes through me; The spiral contains one hundred songs, one thousand songs, one hundred variations of mood, various degrees of awareness, a rapid rate, a slow progression, an excruciatingly uncompromising addiction to endurance, an effortless patience, a vigorous urge to finish, a trance-like state, moments of perfection and moments of clumsiness, balance and contrast, all of nature’s miracles.

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Oh, well, last thing if you are still reading.. I stopped by at a bar in Hamra whilst walking around. It turned out to be the same bar my friend Azza took me to a few years ago, which was a funny ‘coincidence’.. but anyhow, what was funnier still was that they had octopus on their TV! Being a fan of the creature, I couldn’t help but feel everything falling into place as I sat there watching.. Was a funny moment. Here is the evidence:

Bar in Beirut

That’s all for now. Keep well and cashew sooooon..

Carlo

Exhibition Opening This Week and Shagging Last Week

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The Shag

 

The Shag is a platform for artistes to show some of their works in progress, ask questions, get feedback and suggestions. As it is just an almost pleasant promenade from my residence, I thought I may as well get out (something I am often reluctant to do!) and go see what it’s all about. I really enjoyed my first visit earlier in the year and felt it would be the perfect opportunity to do a presentation about an idea I have for a book containing some of my drawings. When the 10th installment of The Shag became publicized, I got a slot and so last week I showed some drawings and opened discussion, asking some questions about the direction of the book. I found it really useful to get the ‘objective’ viewpoints and also enjoyed hearing a short story, some poems, watching a mummified pyramid headed band perform and partaking in an intimate one on one encounter which was quite interesting but difficult to categorize in terms of practice. Was it a performance? I’m not sure. It was good though! Anyhow, I estimate I will begin putting the book together in 5-7 years time and will let you know more, closer to the time (yes, in around 4-6 years). If you’re a south/central London based ‘artiste’ in any practice at any stage on the spectrum of ‘career’, consider checking The Shag out by clicking on… The Shag. Here’s a photo from my intensely driven talk (click on it to enlarge)..

 

Circus Terminal: London /  6-10th Sept 

The Circus Terminal group show will be making a stop at The London West Bank Gallery from the 6th-10th Sept. only, so do drop in if you’re in the vicinity. I have a couple of paintings in the show and it should prove to be quite a flamboyant affair with artists from around the world taking part. I’ll post some photos post-occurrence. The opening night is this coming Thursday the 5th and if you want to come to that, you need to rsvp here: guestlist@thelondonwestbank.com and for further info, check out the overwhelmingly detailed press release: http://www.londonwestbank.com/exhibitions/circus.pdf

 

Something Nice

I saw this blog today and really liked it a lot so just thought I’d share it.. Look at and read this! http://busymockingbird.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/collaborating-with-a-4-year-old/ and if you are fed up reading stuff, then do one last thing you won’t regret and watch this astonishing display of bioluminescent wonder : 

 

Oh, Okay, One Last Thing..

Seeing as I’m here, I may as well brag about having caught the Sun Ra Arkestra again last week at Cafe Oto in London! If you ever get the chance to see them perform their special styling of cosmic big band goodness, don’t miss out! Currently lead by Marshall Allen, who joined the group in 1956, a real force to be reckoned with! Can you name many other groups still going with members who got involved over half a century ago?! Here’s a photo of Marshall Allen and I last week, and here is a special radio show I put together last year, focused on Sun Ra, featuring an interview with Marshall Allen. Click here for that.

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Peace, I’m out.

Carlo.

Further ongoing adventures..

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I’m back from Amsterdam. Nice place. Pockets of land with windy water passages throughout. The place is not short of record stores. Good to see  that vinyl all around town. The Circus Terminal came to town and we had a lot of fun..

 

Circus Terminal Amsterdam

The opening took place last Saturday at Amsterdam Outsider Art. With 85 artists from 19 countries being represented, you certainly get an overwhelming sensation of creative energy channeled through your optical orifices through to your brain, soul, and wherever else allows. A dynamic experience for sure, with raw ox meat and olives tantalising the taste-buds and illusory potential brides in a seemingly physical form, interacting with the onlookers. She was also there the following day, I am pretty sure, though perhaps I was just in a strange dream. There are photos though, so it must have been real. Click on these to see larger images..

 

Gareth Hughes, Carlo Keshishian, Chutima Nok Kerdpitak, Julia Sisi, Liz Parkinson

Gareth Hughes, Carlo Keshishian, Chutima Nok Kerdpitak, Julia Sisi, Liz Parkinson

Julia Sisi trying to read my mind

Lady and her dog contemplating my creations

Lady and her dog contemplating my creations

In comes the bride..

In comes the bride..

Catherine Goodwin (the bride) encounters Liz Parkinson

Catherine Goodwin (the bride) encounters Liz Parkinson

And then we hit the pub. Check out our Circus Terminal Amsterdam customised drink mats. Featuring Sisi, Liz, Bea, Gareth, Susan, and Carlo. Nok's was in production at time of photo.

And then we hit the pub. Check out our Circus Terminal Amsterdam customised drink mats. Featuring Sisi, Liz, Bea, Gareth, Susan, and Carlo. Nok’s was in production at time of photo.

 

The following day, I took it upon myself to lead and initiate a collaborative piece, which we enjoyed adding to for a couple of hours in the garden. So far there have been contributions from 7 artists and the canvas is open to addition until the exhibition ends August 17th, so if you’re in the area, make sure you get down there! Entry is free. I’ve got a few photos of  fellow Circus Terminalists Julia Sisi and Liz Parkinson getting involved with the collaborative canvas. I’ll post a photo of the (hopefully) finished canvas in my next blog entry. Gotta send a shout-out to Nok and Bert for all their energy going into putting this all together. Also, was nice to meet Susan and Emily from Studio B based out of Boyertown, Philadelphia, USA who hosted the last Circus Terminal incarnation. I think the next one might take place in Slovenia? or Serbia? Oh wait! Before that, there is one in London, UK in early September. Stay tuned for details…

My Posca pen partners and I getting busy. Gareth getting married in the back.

My Posca pen partners and I getting busy. Gareth getting married in the back.

Liz and I. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Liz and I. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Sisi and Liz

Sisi and Liz

Julia Sisi creating wonderfully. Nice little octopus dedication to me also!

Julia Sisi creating wonderfully. Nice little octopus dedication to me also!

Gareth adding his bit. I went on to put a stream under Sisi's ark.. I also did a half octpus half elephant half snail, no photo yet though.

Gareth adding his bit. I went on to put a stream under Sisi’s ark.. I also did a half octpus half elephant half snail, no photo yet though.

 

Maybe it’s just my tinnitus, but turn your volume way down..

Carlo meets Catherine

Carlo meets Catherine

 

The Running Horse Contemporary Arts Space

So, I’m off to Beirut to continue to put in motion (in more ways than one) some things to do with my big solo exhibition happening in November at The Running Horse Contemporary Arts Space and very much look forward to seeing Emi Miyashita‘s solo show which is currently on. Here’s some photos of what I remember from the Drawing Now Paris art fair which took place at the Carrousel du Louvre (I mainly remember seafood, but you can also see some Miyashita drawings nicely configured with many curious onlookers, and a few people looking at my drawing)..

All mine

All mine

All gone

All gone

Me being closely observed

Me being closely observed

More onlookers at the Louvre

More onlookers at the Louvre

 

Here’s some photos from my last Beirut trip..

Spiralling into control

Spiralling into control

Some graf'd up buses in Beirut

Some graf’d up buses in Beirut

Hot dog

Hot dog

Exploring the Spiral 5th World to no end

Exploring the Spiral 5th World to no end

Beirut at night with a large moon

Beirut at night with a large moon

Eat fruits

Eat fruits

Finish off with an Armenian beer brewed where I stay in Naccache, Lebanon

Finish off with an Armenian beer brewed where I stay in Naccache, Lebanon

 

Outside In / Impact Art Fair

Finally, when I get back from Beirut, on the very same day in fact, I’ll be picking up art works and rushing over to the Impact Art Fair in Brixton, London, UK to help out with Outside In‘s booth. The day I’m speaking of is Thursday 25th July. I’ll enjoy the preview night (I will!) and then head over and do a little DJ set at The Sun also in Brixton. That’s the plan anyway, but considering I have to get up at 4am and nomadically transport myself around for the following 20 hours, I might not make it to The Sun, but I really want to! I think I will. I can be a trooper. I’ll also be at the Impact Art Fair on Sunday 28th July (the last day) invigilating the Outside In booth, so if you’re around, do drop in and check out some art! Come keep me company.. all of the above.

Final Thoughts

I can’t seem to get into the habit of writing these blog entries more regularly, in more digestible doses, but I suppose it goes with my character to build and build and build and then deliver, so that’s the way it is. If you’ve cared to read this far down, good on you! I’ll be back with more in a while, but be sure to check some of the above stuff out when it’s happening.

Enjoy the summer,

Carlo.

 

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